Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A centre's view: how digital tools enhance the rehoming process

Heather, our Support Relations Officer at Merseyside has had a bit of time to think lately. Tripping and falling down the stairs, while not a pleasant holiday, will certainly give you plenty of time off work to ponder. Don’t worry everyone, she is fine! While she’s recovering, she has taken some time to talk about how digital tools enhance the rehoming process.

Take it away, Heather…

I was talking to some people the other day about how excited I was about updating the Dogs Trust Merseyside Twitter “Dog for the Day” on my phone. They replied, “Oh I don’t understand it all... it's a waste of time and pointless.” Which got me thinking about how does it help the centres?

We have all been recently uploading photos and videos to social sites such as Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook but what impact does this actually have and is it worth it all? Well, I think so! Here are a few stories to share with you:

Recently we have been developing our enrichment area at Merseyside and after seeing pictures of the Glasgow team building platforms, I retweeted a picture saying how we would love some items to build jumps with. We then got links to a local tweeter who deals with all left over building material. Through this someone donated us lots of car tyres and we now have some brilliant jumps for the dogs.

A few months ago I started an album on Facebook of dogs at the Merseyside centre, in it was a picture of Old Meg with her pal Taz. Meg was 18 years young and constantly overlooked due to her age. We also then did a short video of Meg and Taz showing just how sweet and active she still is. A wonderful family in North Wales fell in love with her and a week later we took Old Meg up to her perfect new home. In fact, Old Meg now has her own Facebook page with lots of followers who also fell in love but were not suitable or couldn’t offer her a home, but they now could follow her progress. Unfortunately, Old Meg has now passed away but we were so glad that she was able to live out the rest of her days in a loving home. This family also saw our recently World Cup themed video and fell in love again. We launched the video on the Friday and by Sunday morning they were at the centre to meet gorgeous Grace who is now happily living the country sea side life in North Wales.

I have found that a lot of the people on Dogs Trust Facebook often either have dogs currently or join to show us pictures of dogs they have just rehomed. Last month I posted a picture of the Spock-eared Max who was a lovely, unusual boy who was often overlooked in the centre due to his unique looks. When I posted the photo I asked people to share it on their profile so friends could see it who were not members of the group. A young guy saw Max's picture on his friends profile and fell in love straight away. He and Max are now firm best buddies and Max is living the perfect life. Also, the owner is now a fan on Facebook.

After thinking about it, I think social media works and can only get better; in fact, I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

If you want to know more about Merseyside, please visit their page on our website. Also, if you have any rehoming queries or want to know more about a particular dog, please call the centre on 0151 480 0660.

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